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Helping Idaho’s Charters Succeed: What Parents Have to Say

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A key Bluum goal is to share research and insights learned in our efforts to help grow successful new school models and develop innovative education leaders. We think education and schooling can only get better if it is informed by research, data and insights from what works and from what doesn’t. We also think the voice of parents matter greatly. They have the most skin in the game when it comes to public education – their children!

But, listening to parents well sometimes requires a special effort…while we sometimes have parents come to us with their frustrations, grievances and questions we also want to hear from parents who don’t have a specific agenda or ax to grind. We recently commissioned a series of focus groups with parents in four communities across Idaho (Fruitland, Caldwell, Garden City and Idaho Falls). We are now sharing the key takeaways with our readers.

While keeping in mind that focus groups have both strengths and weaknesses here are eight key takeaways uncovered by the researchers from the New York-based FDR Group:

  1. Don’t be misled by parents’ initially positive evaluations of the traditional public schools; scratch beneath the surface for a complete rendering of their views.
  2. Knowledge of charter schools is important…but not always essential.
  3. Proof of concept is crucial at the start-up phase.
  4. Despite criticism to the contrary, charter schools may actually be pulling kids back into the public school system.
  5. Education jargon can be counterproductive.
  6. Parents crave honest communication from educators, something they say is lacking in public schools.
  7. Differentiating schools — and segments of parents — as a marketing strategy requires a delicate balance.
  8. What do parents really want? They want it all.

Intrigued enough to read more? Click here.